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All About Acne – Part IV: Cosmetics for Acne-prone Skin

  • Posted on July 1, 2013 at 11:26 pm

Brand CollageAfter my last post I’m sure there was a lot of exasperation, like “what the heck IS safe to use?”  I wanted to give you a list of just some of the foundations I’ve found that do not have the ingredients that may cause irritation and breakouts.  Obviously something may not have any of the Big Nasty ingredients and still irritate your skin, or you might not like the particular formula, but I didn’t want to leave you with only the bad.

 

High End Foundation

 

BareMineralsbareMinerals Original Foundation SPF 15

My favorite mineral foundation by far is the Bare Minerals Original Foundation with SPF 15.  This is the foundation that I used through my twenties, and still have in my rotation today.  It has only 5 ingredients.  That’s right – no huge paragraph of hard-to-read chemicals, just 5 simple ingredients – 2 of which are for sunscreen!  The fewer ingredients you have, the less of a chance for irritation.  It also offers 20 shade variations, and those shades are very forgiving.  That means that you don’t have to get a near-exact match in the way you’d expect with a liquid foundation.  They’re very blendable.

Now, I know the price for this foundation can be a deterrent for some.  There may be other mineral foundations out there that are cheaper.  I would caution you to make sure that the brand has no fillers or additional ingredients for shimmer or shine.  Check those ingredients!

 

Additional Products – I thought it would be helpful to mention that not only does bareMinerals make foundation, they also carry a line of concealers, blushes, bronzers, highlights and basically every type of cosmetic you may want.  Their loose mineral powders have the least amount of ingredients and are the ones that I would recommend.  You can’t go wrong checking out this line.

 

 Tarte Tinted Moisturizer

Tarte Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Moisturizer

This is my other go-to face product.  It’s not a true foundation; the coverage is too light for that.  But it doesn’t claim to be.  I use this for light coverage when I just want to even out my skin tone and I want something more moisturizing.  This is definitely not a matte tinted moisturizer.  It does have a more satin finish to it.  Sometimes I will layer this with a dusting of the bareMinerals over top.  It goes on easily, doesn’t slide all over my face in a grease fest 20 minutes after applying it, and is great in the summer when I don’t want to have anything heavy on my skin.

 

Additional Products – Tarte, like bareMinerals, has a whole line of cosmetics you can check out.  Their blushes are beautiful and really do last all day like their name claims.  They have a silicone-free primer called the Clean Slate Flawless 12-Hour Brightening Primer which is a great alternative for oily skin.  Just stay away from the Aqualillies palette!

 

Drugstore Foundation

Let me tell you, within the category of drugstore brand cosmetics, the selection of “safe” foundations for acneic skin is very limited.  VERY.  LIMITED.  It was surprising to me how many foundations have names that would suggest that they are perfect for acne-prone skin, only to read the ingredients and see several horribly irritating and breakout-causing heavy hitters listed.  That’s why you have to ignore the names, the claims, and go straight for the ingredients.  If you are shopping online and the ingredients are not listed anywhere – skip it.  Move on.  Even if it’s called “Amazing Acne Clearing Best Thing For You Foundation.”  Resist the urge!

 

Neutrogena Skin Clearing


Neutrogena SkinClearing Oil Free Makeup

This foundation has salicylic acid in it, which is an ingredient that actually helps treat acne.  A word of caution about this one though – it also has Vitamins A, C, and E, which for some people can be irritating (especially the Vitamin A).  I have not tried this foundation personally, so I can’t talk to the formula or the wearability.  I’m basing this solely on the ingredients.

 

Neutrogena Healthy Skin
Neutrogena Healthy Skin Compact Makeup

Neutrogena gave me two options for the drugstore.  I promise, I looked at other brands and either was not able to get a list of their ingredients or they had some of the Big Nasties in them.  This foundation option has a whopping 55 SPF, which is awesome!  It’s rare that you will see an SPF that high in a foundation.  The down side is that there appear to only be eight color options, catering to the light and medium skin tones.  I haven’t used this foundation to be able to give you an idea of the coverage.  Like the Skin Clearing foundation, I am listing it here based on it’s ingredients.  I’d love to hear if you’ve tried this foundation, or any of the ones I have listed.

 

 

Bottom Line

Read the ingredients on any product that is going to be against your skin.  Don’t rely on the name of the product as a guide for what you should be purchasing.  Especially when you are looking at drugstore brands… it is a mine field out there.

It’s important to note that you may have a foundation that you love that might have a questionable ingredient in it.  The best way to test how your skin reacts to a product is to only add one new product at a time into your routine.  Or conversely only take one product away at a time from your existing routine and see if it changes things.  However, if you looked at your skincare and makeup and saw that the majority of the items had Big Nasties in them – STOP USING THEM NOW.  But if you are in love with a particular product, and don’t want to believe it may be hurting your skin, remove it and see if it helps at all.  If you’re following the skincare routine I outlined in my previous post here, your skin should be reacting positively to the changes.  If the foundation was breaking you out, you will see a change.

The Balm: Bronzers and Highlights

  • Posted on May 31, 2013 at 7:40 pm

“I always wear bronzer because I love the way my skin looks when it’s tan.”  ~Lauren Conrad

Part Two of my The Balm Cosmetics shopping spree included picking up their bronzer, contour and highlight products.  I was so excited to try these out, and I can’t wait to share my thoughts with you.

The Balm Cosmetics

The Balm Cosmetics

Bronze and Contour

Bronzing and contouring your face can turn into a hot mess, depending on the product you use and how you use it.  Knowing that The Balm tends to have highly pigmented products, I was a little nervous about purchasing their bronzers.  In the end I just couldn’t resist.  Let me walk you through what I got, and what I think about them.

 

Bahama Mama – Bronzer and Contour

Purchase: TheBalm Bahama Mama Bronzer

Bahama Mama is a matte finished multi-tasker.  You can use it as a bronzer, a contour shade, or an eye shadow.  It looks very dark in the pan.  Like scary-dark for someone with my fair-medium complexion.  I was surprised to find that I was able to apply it sheerly enough to work for me, and build it up if I wanted to.  As with all of The Balm cosmetics – a little bit goes a long way!

I love that it is matte; I am not a fan of bronzers with any kind of shimmer, glitter or sparkle to them.  I feel they tend to look odd on the face.  When you’re contouring or bronzing you’re looking to add shadows, depth, warmth to the face, not turn into a tanned, sparkly Twilight vampire chick.  Once I started using Bahama Mama it quickly replaced the others I had in my collection as my go-to product.

Application:  The key to applying this is to lightly touch your brush to the product, tap it off, and then blend.  DO NOT swirl your brush around in the pan like there is no tomorrow.  It won’t be cute.

The Balm: Bahama Mama Swatches

The Balm: Bahama Mama
Swatches

 

Betty-Lou Manizer Bronzer and Highlight

Purchase: TheBalm Betty-Lou Manizer

I realize that not everyone agrees with my opinion that bronzers should be matte.  Betty-Lou Manizer is certainly NOT matte.  This product has shimmer galore!  It’s not something that I would reach for to use as a bronzer or contour; it just doesn’t do it for me in that capacity.

I do however love that I can use this as an eye shadow.  It has a warm copper glow to it, which I love on my eyes more than the glitter party that a lot of eye shadows with sparkle tend to be.  This is also a great highlight for darker complexions.  Gorgeous!

The Balm: Betty-Lou Manizer Swatches

The Balm: Betty-Lou Manizer
Swatches

Highlight

I am constantly trying out different highlights.  I think the right highlight can bring a youthful glow to your face, make your cheekbones appear more defined, and really finish your over all look.  The wrong highlight can accentuate every fine line, wrinkle, and pore that is on your face.  That’s never a look that I’m going for.  I picked up The Balm’s highlight for fair – medium/tan skin to see how I would like it.

 

Mary-Lou Manizer Highlight

Purchase: The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer

This is a champagne highlight that has definite shimmer to it.  It is finely milled so that you’re not seeing glitter pieces on your skin, but you can definitely apply too much rather easily and get out of hand.  I use this with a soft hand on top of my cheeks for a beautiful glow.  I have also used it under my brows and around my tear duct to brighten my eye area.

Additional Application Trick: If you happen to use mineral makeup, like Bare Minerals foundation, you can apply some of the Mary-Lou Manizer on your skin UNDER that foundation (along the top of your cheekbones and the center of your forehead).  When you swirl your mineral foundation on top of it, it diffuses it enough to give your skin a ‘lit from within’ quality that can be quite pretty.

The Balm: Mary-Lou Manizer Swatches

The Balm: Mary-Lou Manizer
Swatches

The Bottom Line:

While some of these won’t be products I turn to on a daily basis, they are all quite lovely.  There are multiple uses for each of them, and with the amount of product you get in each… I will be bronzing and highlighting with The Balm cosmetics for a long time.

The Balm Cosmetics: Blush Extravaganza

  • Posted on May 31, 2013 at 5:42 pm

…I work so much, during the free days I have I like to let my skin breathe.  But of course I’m girly so I like to put on some blush and some mascara.”  ~Bar Refaeli

The Balm Collage

Oh, The Balm, how I love your blushes!

I have a pile of The Balm blushes, highlighters and bronzers sitting next to me at the keyboard as I type this.  I’m telling myself that I need them here in case I want to do some quick swatches (already did that, took the pictures, yet I still try to justify my addiction).  However, if I’m honest, I really think I brought them here because even just looking at makeup makes me happy.  That’s how you know you’re a True Beauty Junkie.

Anyone else able to spend hours just perusing the makeup aisles of any store, reading product details, getting excited about the claims, arms covered in swatches of products?  Welcome to the club!

The Balm Cosmetics has a complete line of makeup, skin care, hair care and nail polish.  But what I want to talk about today is some of their classic blushes.  I’ll cover contour, bronzers and highlights in a separate blog.

 

The Blushes – Gorgeousness in a Compact

The Balm blushes are beautiful, long-wearing, and highly pigmented.  That allows you to achieve several blush shades with just one compact.  You can sheer them out, build them up, use them as eye shadows or highlights… Several are must haves in my collection.  And just as a side note: the packaging for all of The Balm products is super cute, retro-inspired, and I love it!

 

Down Boy Blush

Purchase:  TheBalm Down Boy Blush

Down Boy is a soft, fresh-faced pink, and the lightest of the blushes that I will be talking about today.  It has the slightest sheen to it that gives it a little ‘lit from within’ quality.  It’s not glittery, clumpy, or gaudy.  A little goes a long way, you don’t want to apply this or any of The Balm products with a heavy hand.

In the swatches you can see that on top I have it very densely packed onto my skin, while on the bottom it’s a sheer wash of color.  Fabulous either way you choose to wear it.

 

The Balm - Down Boy Swatches

The Balm – Down Boy
Swatches

Cabana Boy Blush

Purchase: TheBalm Cabana Boy Blush

Cabana Boy is a warmer dusty-rose with plum undertones.  There is a slight shimmer to this blush, and I find that when I wear it I skip on highlighting my cheekbones.  The range for this shade is fantastic!  Depending on the amount of product you apply, and which type of brush you apply it with, you can sheer this out completely for a rosey glow on your cheeks, or go really intense with it.

The Balm: Cabana Boy Swatches

The Balm: Cabana Boy
Swatches

 

Frat Boy Blush

Purchase: TheBalm Frat Boy Blush

Frat Boy adds a flush of peachy-pink to your cheeks.  For all of you coral lovers – this is the one to start with.  It’s also a great color for all of the women who tend to have pink undertones in your skin that you spend a lot of time trying to cover and minimize.  The last thing you want to do sometimes after canceling out all the redness is to put the pink right back into your cheeks with blush.  Frat Boy gives you peaches and cream, nearly matte color with just the slightest hint of a sheen to it to keep you from looking dry or flat.

The Balm: Frat Boy Blush Swatches

The Balm: Frat Boy Blush
Swatches

 

Hot Mama Blush

Purchase: TheBalm Hot Mama Blush

Hot Mama is a blush and highlight combo in one product.  It is also a peachy-pink shade like Frat Boy, but man do they pump up the shimmer on this one with gold throughout!  You will not need to use a separate highlight on the days you wish to rock this blush.  To be clear, when I talk about “gold shimmer,” I am not talking about gold chunks or flecks.  It’s not that you’ll look at your cheeks and think that you let a child toss glitter at your face.  It is finely milled so that it’s not BAM – glitter in yo face!  This is not one that I tend to reach for regularly, but it would make a lovely highlight for Frat Boy.

The Balm: Hot Mama Blush Swatches

The Balm: Hot Mama Blush
Swatches

The Bottom Line

Down Boy and Cabana Boy are my go-to choices for blush right now.  When it comes to The Balm blushes over all I love how highly pigmented they are, which gives you so many options to play around with, their staying power, and the fact that a little bit goes such a long way.  I am going to have these for ages before I even need to think about repurchasing.  And with the shades above I feel like I can get virtually any look I want out of them, which means that I don’t need fifty different shades of blush clogging my makeup collection.  I can spend that money elsewhere.  And you know I will!  :)

NYX Slide On Pencil Eyeliner – Slide On and (Sometimes) Slide Off

  • Posted on May 10, 2013 at 5:15 pm

“I think I would die without my eyeliner, but besides that I’m pretty basic.” ~ Avril Lavigne

 

NYX Collage

I love me some Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencils, but the price has had me on a dupes search for ages.  I recently watched a YouTube video that listed the NYX Slide On Pencils as the perfect inexpensive alternative to my Urban Decay favorites.  NYX Cosmetics has a dazzling range of colors for eyeliners, shadows, and blush; everything from basic neutrals (your white, cream, brown and black variations) to the extreme (neon craziness and bright, bold colors).  I decided to give the Slide On Pencils a try and picked up four of them  in Purple Blaze (a violet purple), Tropical Green (a rich, deep green), Golden Bronze (a vibrant, pure bronze), and Brown Perfection (a deep brown).

 

NYX Cosmetics Slide On Pencils – The Claims

  • Waterproof
  • Doesn’t smear
  • Doesn’t smudge
  • Delivers powerful, robust colors
  • Like a liquid eyeliner without the mess

 

True Beauty Junkie Assessment

I’m finding that within the same line of pencils you can have colors that truly live up to the claims, as well as those that do not.  It’s quite frustrating.  These NYX Slide On Pencils are a perfect example of that.  Let me take you through the swatches:

1 NYX Slide On Eyeliner On Wrist

1:  Here are the colors simply swatched onto my arm.  My only comment after I first swatched them was that I was slightly disappointed that the Purple Blaze wasn’t as “blazing” as the name implied.  It is still a pretty shade; it just appeared to be a bit washed out straight out of the gate.  I loved the Tropical Green, and that Golden Bronze is gorgeous!

2 NYX Slide On Eyeliner Rub Test

2:  The next thing I did was the dreaded smudge test.  Just to be clear, I waited several minutes before touching the liner, to really give it time to set.  Right away my excitement over the Tropical Green diminished some, as it slid all over the place.  The Blazing Purple basically faded to an almost lilac shade.  The Golden Bronze shocked the bajeezus out of me by not moving or fading at all.  When I originally saw how shiny it was I thought, “That will be the first to go.”  It proved me wrong.  Brown Perfection lost some of it’s dark pigmentation, but didn’t spread across my skin as much as the Tropical Green.

3 NYX Slide On Eyeliner Water Test

3: Bring on the water!  What I noticed is that the water didn’t change the swatches much after the smudge test.  And unfortunately, the water didn’t remove any of the smearing lines from that Tropical Green.

4 NYX Slide On Eyeliner Water Rub Test

4:  Just like with the other eyeliner tests I’ve done, after the swatches are wet I see how they handle being rubbed again.  This was the first time that I’ve had an eyeliner bead and pill up.  It looked like back in the day when I was a kid and would put a thin layer of Elmer’s Glue on my hand, let it dry, and then rub it off so it looked like my skin was sloughing off.  (Don’t ask why I found that so much fun to do haha).  The Tropical Green and Blazing Purple both had that same beading happening.

 

Water Line Wear:

Before I give the Bottom Line, I wanted to also let you know that I tried the Blazing Purple and the Golden Bronze in my water line (on separate days of course!) to see how they worked.  When I put on the Blazing Purple the color was sooo light, it was difficult to make out.  It faded to nothing after a few hours.  Golden Bronze initially went on like a pumpkin orange.  I thought I looked a little ill haha.  But after a few minutes it seemed to oxidize and darken a bit, which was a better look.  Unfortunately after a few hours it also disappeared from my water line.

 

Bottom Line:

I will be returning all of these liners.  I’m sure the people at Ulta will just LOVE me, but I really can’t justify keeping them.  I want to find something that will stay in my water line and also function  just as well as my regular eye liner.  I certainly didn’t find them to be “like a liquid liner” at all.  You aren’t going to get a precision line from these pencils.  As you can see in the pictures, some of them do smear and smudge quite easily.  I found that they basically held up in water, but not in my water line.  So unfortunately, my quest for a true Urban Decay 24/7 drugstore dupe will continue.

Let me know what you think about these liners.  What was your experience?  Have you found any eyeliners that work just as well as the Urban Decay 24/7s?  What is your favorite water line eyeliner?  Leave your comments below, I’d love to hear from you.  :)